The AAF official history described the Royce Raid: “But one load of bombs could count for little in the final checkup (describing an attack on the former Nichols Field), and some of the participants questioned whether the results justified the extraordinary effort required. Others returned with a memory chiefly of gallant men who had serviced their planes on Mindanao—men who already knew their doom. For this was the last major attempt to fly across the far-flung battle lines to their aid.”
This past week at “Wright Field” the National Museum of the United States Air Force hosted the last remaining Doolittle Raider, Lt Col Dick Cole (USAF, Ret) and Jimmy Doolittle’s co-pilot during the daring mission. Another mission of similar fortitude and courage also attained the 75th anniversary milestone; with as far as I was able to determine zero coverage or acknowledgement.
Flying out of Darwin to hastily arranged fields in un-occupied Philippine territory, the Royce Raid (named after their commander, Brig Gen Ralph Royce) consisted of a mixed force of B-17s (3) and B-25s (10) against Japanese shipping and ground targets (some former American installations). Attained results were greater than expected (as with the Doolittle Raid); however, enemy forces were too great in number and strength and Royce led the 12 surviving aircraft (one B-17 was lost) with zero casualties back to Australia just as Doolittle was about to embark into the “history books.” Note: A few of the B-17 crew members had flown into Pearl Harbor during the attack and subsequently had survived their trek across the Philippines during the Japanese advance.